MURANG’A Kenya, Apr 28 – Kenya Volleyball Federation men and women’s league champions, Kenya Prisons and Kenya Pipeline both lost to rivals, General Services Unit and Kenya Prisons respectively during the second round of the league played this Friday in Ndakaini, Murang’a county.
Pipeline’s hopes of sounding revenge over Prisons after the latter beat them in the African Women’s Club Championship in Tunisia early April fell flat as they drowned into another loss by the wardresses.
Prisons Men began their search for a sixth national title and a first since 2013 on a high following a triumphant 3-1(25-19,25-21,25-17,25-22) victory against Pipeline while GSU beat male defending champions, Prisons by the same set scores (25-18,26-24,25-21,25-22) in the first round.
Even the presence of Qatar based, Kenyan international, Mike Chemos could not salvage the situation for the defending champions.
“There is nothing to worry about the defeat,” said a straight faced Prisons tactician Gideon Chenje after the loss.
“The season has just started. We are coming off indoors tournament (club championship) and it took us sometime to adapt to the game. We will judge ourselves after the tournament on Sunday,” added the confident Chenje.
Earlier, GSU held their nerves to beat fast rising Nairobi Water at their backyard 3-2 (25-23,27-25,18-25,20-25,15-13).
It was sweet revenge for GSU who had seen Prisons deny them the title last year in Mombasa.
“I am building a youthful team that will be hard to beat in the next five years or so. The victory means a lot to us. We hope to continue with the performance as we aim to reclaim the title. I am proud of my boys’ performance,” Gideon Tarus, the GSU head coach noted.
In other matches played on the shores of Ndakaini dam, Cooperative Bank cashed in on army men Kenya Defence Forces with a 3-1 (25-22,28-26,19-25,25-18) victory while KPA overwhelmed Administration Police by straight set (25-22,25-22,25-15) to register a first win of this season.
-Pipeline, Prisons pulls crowd-
But it was the women’s match between Pipeline and Prisons that pulled the crowd.
The rivalry between these two sides dates back to 2006, when Prisons (women) was founded but it is their latest clash before this game that is still fresh in the minds of most fans.
Though Pipeline fielded a youthful squad in Ndakaini, Prisons confirmed their dominance on the defending champions with a convincing 3-1 win to take charge of the women’s division race.
“I missed most of my senior players, but I am proud of the performance of the youngsters. This is just a routine game,” Pipeline head coach Japheth Munala noted, allaying fears that his side’s title hunt had been dampened the loss to their arch rivals.
But Prisons assistant coach Josp Baraza believes the win will give his players the needed psychological edge over their opponents with the sight on the top prize in November.
“Our approach was good; we won the first two sets easily, but recovered I the fourth set. We are determined to win all the upcoming matches and end our three year title drought,” noted Baraza.
In another match, Nairobi Water came from a set down to beat Kenya Commercial Bank 3-2 (23-25,25-24,14-25,25-20,15-11) to record a first win of the seaon. Water who acquired the services of former Kenya Prisons setter Florence Bosire missed the first leg held in Nyeri.
The league will now pave way for the Nairobi Water and Sewerage Company sponsored Chairman’s Cup open tournament which begins on Saturday morning.
GSU 3-1 Kenya Prisons (25-18,26-24,25-21,25-22)
Mombasa Prisons 2-3 Forest Rangers (25-22,23-25,25-22,22-25,13-15)
KDF 3-1 Nairobi Prisons (25-16,25-14,22-25,25-17)
GSU 3-2 Nairobi Water (25-23,27-25,18-25,20-25,15-13
KDF 1-3 Cooperative (22-25,26-28,19-25,18-25)
KPA 3-0 AP (25-22,25-22,25-15)
Vihiga County 3-0 Nairobi Prisons (25-18,25-17,27-25)
Forest Rangers 1-3 Kenya Prisons (11-25,17-25,25-20,19-25)
Pipeline 1-3 Prisons (19-25,25-21,17-25,22-25)
Nairobi Water 3-2 KCB (23-25,25-24,14-25,25-20,15-11)
-By Elvince Joshua-